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Chapter 36

Overview of Transport Mechanisms in Plants

1. Describe how proton pumps function in transport of materials across plant membranes, using the terms proton
gradient, membrane potential, cotransport, and chemiosmosis.

The proton pump uses energy from ATP to pump hydrogen ions (H+) out of the cell. The pump contributes to a voltage
called membrane potential. Proton pumping makes the inside of a plant cell negative. In cotransport, a transport protein
couples the downhill passage of one solute (H+) to the uphil passage of another (NO3-) and also it is responsible for the
uptake of sugar sucrose by plant cells. Chemiosmosis is a transmembrane proton gradient which links energy-releasing
processes to energy-consuming processes in cells.

2. Define osmosis and water potential. Explain how water potential is measured.

Osmosis is the passive transport of water across a membrane. Water potential is the physical property predicting
the direction in which water will flow, governed by solute concentration and applied pressure and
measured in psi.

3. Explain how solutes and pressure affect water potential.

Solutions with higer concentrations have more water transported to them than lower. Pressure occurs because of the plant’s
cell walls. Adding solutes lowers water potential. Pressure potential is the physical pressure on a solution and aid in the
production of turgor pressure.

4. Explain how the physical properties of plant cells are changed when the plant is placed into solutions that have
higher, lower, or the same solute concentration.

A 0.1-molar (M) solution of any solute has a water potential of −0.23 MPa. If 0.1 M solution is separated
from pure water, water will move into the solution by osmosis. Water will move from the region of higher
psi to the region of lower psi.

5. Define the terms flaccid, plasmolyze, turgor pressure, and turgid.

A walled cell is flaccid in surroundings where there is no tendency for water to enter. To plasmolyze
is to shrink the pull away from a cell wall, or when a plant cell protoplast pulls away from a cell wall
as a result of water loss. Turgor pressure is force directed against a cell wall after the influx of
water and the swelling of a walled cell due to osmosis. Turgid is very firm. A walled cell becomes
turgid if it has greater solute concentration than its surroundings, resulting in entry of water

6. Explain how aquaporins affect the rate of water transport across membranes.

Water usually transports across vacuolar and plasma membranes through transport proteins called aquaporins, which affect
rate of the flow.

7. Name the three major compartments in vacuolated plant cells.

The three major components in vacuolated plant cells are the cell wall, cytosol, vacuole.

8. Distinguish between the symplast and the apoplast.

In plants, the symplast is the continuum of cytoplasm connected by plasmodesmata between cells
while the apoplast is the continuum of cell walls plus the extracellular spaces

9. Describe three routes available for lateral transport in plants.


1. Substances move out of one cell across the cell wall and into the neighboring cell
2. The symplast requires only one crossing of the plasma membrane. Solutes move from one cell to another using
plasmodesmata.
3. Water and solutes pass through the plant using byways in the cell walls.

10. Define bulk flow and describe the forces that generate pressure in the vascular tissue of plants.

Bulk flow is the movement of a fliud driven by pressure. Water and solutes go through the tracheids of the xylem and the
sieves of phloem. In phloem, the loading of sugars generates a high positive pressure forcing sap to the opposite end. In
xylem, negative pressure drives long distance transportation. Transpiration reduces xylem pressure and increases plant
xylem tension.

11. Relate the structure of sieve-tube cells, vessel cells, and tracheids to their functions in bulk flow.

Sieve tube cells are dead and contain no cytoplasm making it easier for the bulk flow of water to flow through. Vessel cells
in leaves lower their pressure by transpiration causing bulk flow upwards. Tracheids aid in xylem bulk flow by holding the
sap.

Absorption of Water and Minerals by Roots

12. Explain what routes are available to water and minerals moving into the vascular cylinder of the root.

Water and mineral salts from the soil enter the plant through the epidermis of roots, cross the root cortex into the vascular
cylinder, and flow up to the shoot system.

13. Explain how mycorrhizae enhance uptake of materials by roots.

Mycorrhizae are symbiotic structures consisting of plant roots united with fungal hyphae filaments. They absorb water and
select minerals and transfer them to the plant.

14. Explain how the endodermis functions as a selective barrier between the root cortex and vascular cylinder.

The endodermis is the innermost layer of cells in the root cortex and surrounds the vascular cylinder and functions in
selective passage of minerals from the cortex to the vascular tissue.

Transport of Xylem Sap

15. Describe the potential and limits of root pressure to move xylem sap.

When transpiration is low, the accumulation of minerals lowers the water potential within the vascular cylinder. Water flows
in from the root cortex as an upward push of xylem sap.

16. Define the terms transpiration and guttation.

Transpiration is the evaporative loss of water from a plant while guttation is the exudation of water
droplets, caused by root pressure in certain plants.

17. Explain how transpirational pull moves xylem sap up from the root tips to the leaves.

Water exits the leaves by the stomata when air outside the leaf is dry. Negative pressure causes water to move upward in
mesophyll cell walls. Water is brought to the leaves by the xylem. As more water is lost to the air, water from moister parts
of the leaf are moved to the dry spot, lowering the tension. This causes pulling in xylem and a negative water potential.

18. Explain how cavitation prevents the transport of water through xylem vessels.
Air bubbles from cavation expand and become embolisms, thus blockaging water channels of the xylem.

19. Explain this statement: “The ascent of xylem sap is ultimately solar powered.”

The sun and its heat causes water from leaves to evaporate and without the transpiration, the upward pull of the xylem
wouldn’t exist.

The Control of Transpiration

20. Explain the importance and costs of the extensive inner surface area of a leaf.

The large surface area is an adaptation that enchances the absorption of light needed to drive photosynthesis. The high
surface area-to-volume ratio aids in the uptake of carbon dioxide during photosynthesis as well as in the relase of oxygen.

21. Discuss the factors that may alter the stomatal density of a leaf.

The stomatal density of a leaf is under genetic and environmental control. Desert plants have lower stomatal densities than
marsh plants. High light exposures and low carbon dioxide causes a more dense stomata.

22. Describe the role of guard cells in photosynthesis-transpiration.

When guard cells take in water from neighboring cells by osmosis, they increase the size of the pore. They also open when
they actively build up K+ ions from neighboring epidermal cells.

23. Explain how and when stomata open and close. Describe the cues that trigger stomatal opening at dawn.

Stomata open during the day and close at night. Light cues guard cells to accumulate K+ ions and become turgid. ATP
powered pumps are activated promoting the uptake of K+. Another cue is the depletion of CO2 within air spaces of the leaf.
The last cue is an internal clock in the guard cells.

24. Explain how xerophytes reduce transpiration.

Xerophytes have small, thick leaves, which limits water loss by reducing surface area relative to leaf volume. A thick cuticle
gives these leaves leathery consistency. Some trap water and others shed their leaves during the driest months. Some grow
the stomata away from dry winds.

25. Describe crassulacean acid metabolism and explain why it is an important adaptation to reduce transpiration in
arid environments.

The plants take in carbon dioxide by an alternative photosynthetic pathway, CAM, for acid metabolism. Mesophyll cells in a
CAM plant have enzymes that turn carbon dioxide into organic acids at night and relase them during the day which allows
their stomata to stay closed during the daytime. It is important to reduce transpiration in arid environments to prevent plant
from desiccation.

Translocation of Phloem Sap

26. Define and describe the process of translocation. Trace the path of phloem sap from a primary sugar source to a
sugar sink.

Translocation is the transport of organic nutrients in the plant. The sugar source produces the sugar by photosynthesis or
breakdown of starch. Then the sugar is consumed or stored by a sugar sink. After stockpiling carbs in the summer, it is a
source as its starch are broken down to sugar which is carried to the tips of the plant.

27. Describe the process of sugar loading and unloading.


Sugar must be loaded to sieve tube members before being exported to sinks. It passes through mesophyll cells to sieve tube
members, passing through the plasmodesmata. The sucrose is then unloaded by phloem at the sink end of the sieve tube.
Sugar disperses from the phloem to sink tissues and is followed by water.

28. Define pressure flow. Explain the significance of this process in angiosperms.

In angiosperms, sap moves through a sieve tube by bulk flow driven by positive pressure. The building of pressure at the
source and reduction at the sink causes water to flow from source to sink with the sugar.